If there’s one good thing to come out of 2020 (other than the obvious one that happened a couple weeks ago), it’s that there’s been a lot of unexpected album releases. Some of these have been albums that were long in production (Run The Jewels’ RTJ4, Fiona Apple’s Fetch The Bolt Cutters) and some of them have been surprisingly great albums that were recorded on a whim during quarantine (Taylor Swift’s Folklore, Fleet Foxes’ Shore). Either way, the surplus of albums from prominent artists in 2020 clearly seems to be born out of the fact that musicians are stuck at home with nothing better to do than record songs as well as a need to communicate with listeners. Now, I’m not sure that the world needed another Ariana Grande album in 2020 after she put out two of the better pop albums of the 2010s in the last two consecutive years, but it’s still another welcome surprise. Continue reading
It’s hard to say why my first instinct last Thursday night, when the vote counts started to turn in Joe Biden’s favor, was to put on my headphones and go for a walk while listening to Bruce Springsteen. Though I have a few theories. For one, his latest album Letter To You had just been released, so The Boss has been at the forefront of my mind lately. Also, Bruce and Biden are both seasoned veterans of their trades from the tri-state area that have very storied and successful careers, and yet still somehow manage to retain their working-class roots. But most of all, Bruce is just one of those artists that brings me some level of comfort in times of uncertainty. Yet most of his songs, no matter how anthemic, always seem to have a level of overcoming darkness, which has not only been on the edge of town the past 4 years, but has threatened to swallow it up completely. Continue reading
Are movie stars a thing anymore? One of the consequences of cinema’s shift to the global market and franchise filmmaking is a decline in movies built around their casts. I mean sure, we still have A-list actors, but I think it’s hard to say they compare to the classic Hollywood idea of a “star.” Just look at one of the highest-grossing box office stars of all time, Robert Downey Jr. He was the highest paid actor in the world between 2013 and 2015 and should be one of the most recognizable people on the planet, having starred in the highest-grossing film ever made as recently as last year. But were people showing up Avengers Endgame to see Robert Downey Jr. or Tony Stark? How many people are out there who have Iron Man tattoos but haven’t even heard of Zodiac, Chaplin, or Weird Science? And will those same people show up to watch him get farted on by CGI animals? The answer is: I don’t know. Because this narrative, like so much of 2020, has been thrown off completely thanks to the global pandemic. The state of the industry back in January has already become irrelevant. Case in point: while it would be nice to call Dolittle a commercial disappointment, it likely will remain the sixth highest-grossing film of 2020.
There’s been a change of plans. I was supposed to review an episode of Riverdale but after watching five minutes and being totally lost I bailed. Then I decided to watch the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and did and was ready to review it. Then I found out Shudder was releasing a surprise animated episode of Creepshow on October 29th and it was a no brainer.
Airdate: October 28, 2017
Whoops. I did not realize I was supposed to post this yesterday, but can you blame me? Days don’t matter, though I suppose it was nice to have something this month that imposed on the three of us what day it was. Which is a sentence that would make zero sense in a year that wasn’t 2020. Anyways, perhaps I’m stalling because it’s just hard to feel any particularly strong feelings about The David S. Pumpkins Halloween Special, a full-length special centered around the perplexing character that was featured in a pretty solid SNL sketch from 2016. It says something that David S. Pumpkins is a character that doesn’t quite have enough legs to fill 21-minutes, but that’s what happens when you have a character where nobody ever really knows what his deal is.
Season 1, Episode 4
Original Air Date: October 30th, 2012
So The Mindy Project is another show I didn’t know much about going in, but thankfully, as the fourth episode of a half hour comedy, I didn’t have a lot of catching up to do. It’s also a show that actually made its Halloween episode actually about Halloween, so that’s another big plus for me. I guess this is exactly what I was looking for when I picked so many shows I had never watched for this year’s Shocktober. Just a fun slice of a much bigger pie. Basically, I’m happy to be going out on a nice note. Let me tell you about it.
Season 1, Episode 12
Airdate: October 5th, 2012
This is the only episode of a show for this year’s Shocktober that I’d seen before picking it. I’ve seen it a couple of times. You could say it’s a Halloween tradition. Even though it’s not technically a Halloween episode. No, we’re talking about Summerween.